The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 26, 2013

Krohn: Monster mall need not fear tax

— Gov. Dayton’s idea of lowering the sales tax but expanding it to more types of sales is expectedly not sitting well with certain people. Specifically it rankles everyone who sells something not currently taxed, from newspaper owners who now get a free pass on sales taxes to lawyers and clothing retailers.

Dayton said he didn’t want to tax all clothing because it might hurt poorer people, so he’s suggesting taxing only clothing items priced at $100 or more.

I can easily count on one hand the number of $100-plus clothing items I’ve bought in the past five years. Actually I can count them on one finger — a leather coat a couple years ago. So I’m, of course, all in on the clothing sales tax idea.

But the folks at the Mall of America in Bloomington are greeting the clothing tax idea like the coming of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.    

To say the MOA has drawing power is an understatement. Some 17 million people make 40 million visits every year to the mall, many from out of state and even out of the country. So when the mall complains, politicians listen.

A spokesman for MOA was on the radio the other day, saying they have done a survey that showed 40 percent of their customers would stop coming to the mall if there was a sales tax on clothing.

What a crock.

You could build a molten lava-filled moat around MOA and 40 million visitors would still come, throwing grappling hooks across the abyss and climbing up the walls of Macy’s to get in.

I had to admire the public relations flack delivering the statement, though, because she didn’t break out in laughter about what she just said.

No one goes to the 500-store mall for bargains. It’s full of high-priced shops that feed shoppers’ need for entertainment and awe. The place has four Gaps and its own ZIP code.

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